October 12, 2009

Jersey Girl - 2004

Director: Kevin Smith
Writer: Kevin Smith
Starring: Ben Affleck, Raquel Castro, Liv Tyler, George Carlin

"Forget about what you thought you were and just accept who you are." In the most superficially-heartwarming of Kevin Smith's films, Ollie Trinke (Affleck) plays a widower in New York City who wrecks his career as a publicist (at the time promoting then-musician Will Smith) by having a childcare-induced breakdown in front of hundreds of members of the press. He and his daughter Gertie (Castro) move back to his hometown of Highlands, New Jersey and he gets a job with his father Bart (Carlin) working for the borough. One day, he and his daughter head to the local video store, and a mix-up over the rental of an adult film ends up with the store clerk (Tyler) at home with Ollie for what she predicts to be "some very short casual sex" as he hasn't been with a woman in the seven years since his wife's passing. Gertie busts in on them, and as revenge for never being allowed to see Cats (Ollie hates it, calling it "the second worst thing to happen to New York City"), manipulates her father into taking her to see Sweeney Todd instead, which she proceeds to fall in love with (despite it being incredibly gory and her being seven), to the extent that she wants to perform a bit of "God That's Good" at her school talent show. And that's enough exposition on my part...

Jersey Girl gets a bad rap, for a couple reasons:
  • Ollie's late wife Gertrude, who is played in a few scenes by Jennifer Lopez (this movie came out at the height of the "Bennifer" craze, as well as post-Gigli)
  • A lot of hardcore Jay-and-Silent-Bob fans were disappointed that Smith finally made a regular movie
In the end, though, it's a nice little film with some great performances and stellar writing (which is still indicative of Kevin Smith, despite the PG-13), and a couple cameos by the Smith regulars are icing on the cake.

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